This weekend we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit the BBC Bakes and Cakes show in Islington. The show is a chance to exhibit, browse and try out a huge range of baking products, gadgets, savoury and sweet products, alongside masterclasses and interviews with celebrity bakers (like Mary Berry!).
It was much busier than I expected, full of stallholders, aspiring bakers, families, and I expect a few like-minded bloggers. Baking, particularly sweet things, is not something that I have a lot of experience with and my husband generally takes on cakes, bread and desserts. But it’s something that I really want to improve at, so I decided to approach the day with the aim to try as much as possible and get some ideas for developing my baking skills.
We started off with a selection of sausage rolls from Pig in the Middle . We tried out the plain pork (delicious), pork with mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, BBQ pulled pork and sweet chilli pork. They were all lovely but I’m looking forward to trying one at home warmed up.
I very quickly turned to wanting something sweet, and we did several circuits taking in all the cupcakes, whoopie pies, brownies, biscuits, marshmallows, macaroons, meringues, chocolates…before settling on a red velvet whoopie from Kooky Bakes. This is a bakery with American roots, stocking their goods in Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason. You can also find them at Brockley market. I would definitely recommend that you do! The whoopie pie (my first) was one of the most delicious cakes I have ever eaten. Delectable buttercream icing sandwiched between slabs of moist red velvet sponge…just incredible.
Next we thought it was time for a brownie, and where better than the Brownie Bar? The Brownie Bar is located in Newcastle and North East, and they definitely know how to make a good brownie. We went for the standard pure chocolate brownie, but other choices included oreos, peanut butter, smores, and countless others. It was soft, gooey and, according to my husband, ‘not too rich’!
I was starting to feel a bit unwell, but still managed a banoffee marshmallow from the Almond Kitchen. I’m not a fan of marshmallows, but perhaps I have never had a real one before. It was totally different to shop bought marshmallows: soft, moist and less sickly.
There were so many other stalls and I wish we could have tried some more delicious treats, but my stomach was saying ‘stop’. The full exhibitor list can be found here.
We managed to catch the tail end of an interview with Mary Berry on the main stage. Other guests included John Whaite, Mitch Turner, Lucy Young, and of course Paul Hollywood. We had tickets to see the King of bread himself at the theatre in the evening, where he demonstrated two recipes from his new book ‘British Baking’. First of all he made Devonshire splits: a sweet dough roll filled with cream and jam. This is as simple and tasty as it sounds, and we were lucky enough to sample one first hand! He also made Eccles Cakes, but unfortunately we didn’t get to try these.
My husband is a big fan of Paul Hollywood’s recipes, particularly those involving bread, so it was great to hear some tips from him, including how to make the perfect focaccia, whilst regaling us with stories from the Great British Bake Off, of course.
So there you have my very quick round up of our BBC Bakes and Cakes experience! We saw some stunning products, including chocolate crafted into household objects (like cameras), giant rainbow coloured meringues, towering chocolate fountains, cupcakes, cupcakes and more cupcakes. Any aspiring bakers out there, make sure you get there next year!